Putting the “Fat” into Fat Tuesday, part 2

Part two actually begins Monday evening Lundi Gras when Glen and I pulled up to a local restaurant, Tunks Cypress Inn, to drink a celebratory beer and chow down on some hot boiled crawfish. The placemats there have a map of Kincade Lake. We planned strategy as we ate and noted the weather report for Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) was calling for very high winds from the south. After hashing over it for a while, we decided to launch our kayaks in Kincade the next morning and target big chinquapin (red-ear sunfish) and sacalait (crappie). The hills and big camps on the lake should provide us a little relief from the high winds.

We began our morning by chunking small poppers in shallow water. Surprisingly, we caught lots of bream early on. I managed a couple chinquapin that were around the 8-inch mark and I decided to put some on a stringer to have a fish fry for Ash Wednesday. The morning was actually slow for me and I tried to keep close to Catch so we could communicate but I kept going back to this one spot where I caught a nice big fat bluegill, knowing there had to be some more there. At about 11:30, Catch whistled over to me and I saw that he was heading back to the launch. I figured he was tired of fighting the wind and he had had enough. I had five fish on a stringer, including a pretty nice sac alit that I caught on a hare’s ear nymph. When I got back to the launch site, Catch was excited and mumbled something about me staying there to watch his kayak while he went to buy ice. He said,”I found ’em, I left ’em biting, and I’ll be back with some ice.” I went over to take a peek in his fish bag and I was blown away by the huge bream (chinquapin) and sacalait he had in there.

Let me tell you something about Glen. People don’t just call him “Catch” for nothing. He has caught more fish on a fly-rod than any one else I’ve ever met. Now, I haven’t met Lefty Kreh yet, but Lefty is 92 and Glen is only…well, I won’t tell. 🙂 Catch tells me what fly he was using (a green fluff butt in a size 10). Naturally, I don’t have any of those but Catch gives me a couple and says he’ll be back shortly.

When he got back, we proceeded to head back into the wind to the little secluded finger lake, or protected cove and we started fishing where he had caught his earlier. I was stripping an olive colored fluff butt without a strike indicator when I got my first hit. It felt like a speckled trout bite and not like any bream I’ve ever caught. When I asked Catch why he wasn’t using a strike indicator, he said the fish wouldn’t hit it with the indicator on. He figured the water was too clear (we had about 5 feet of visibility) and the fish were spooked by the strike indicator. Once again, I had to sit there and watch Glen catch fish after fish, while I caught one or two every now and then. My luck soon improved and I was landing fish like this:GOPR3541.jpg

and even some like this:GOPR3542.JPG

We both remarked at how these strong fighting fish would actually pull our kayaks! We called it the Kisatchie Sleigh Ride. Not only did they pull us around, but they pulled us agains the wind too. It was a ton of fun on my five weight!

Meanwhile, Catch kept on with some more like thisIMG_0711.JPG

and even a monster crappie that measured 16.5 inches! (sorry, the picture was taken on his camera and I don’t currently have a picture of it)

When the day was over, we had iced down about 15 fat sacalait, about a dozen fat chinquapin and about another dozen fat bluegill. This is a large 48-quart ice chest. IMG_0725.JPG

My stringer looked like this. That’s minus the 5 I had put in the ice chest in the car before we left out for a second time. IMG_0714.jpg

My largest chinquapin was over 10 inches and was bigger than my hand. IMG_0722.jpg

And here are a couple of Fat Tuesday slabs:IMG_0719.JPG

This was definitely the most productive fishing I’ve done in the Kisatchie area with Glen. I’m already looking forward to another chance to not only fish these waters but to fish them with such a fun-loving, nice, gentleman, who has a zest for life and a passion for fishing like I do.

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Happy New Year!

Happy 2017 to you. The end of 2017 went out with a bang as I became a proud grandpa. Hudson Victoria was born December 22. She’s already working on her “Heisman” pose.

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I can’t wait until I can get that cutie in a kayak!

Anyway, this is a fishing blog so I’ve got to get to the fishing. 🙂

I’ve been kind of land locked since Thanksgiving. I did manage a couple of nice bass in the lakes by my daughter’s house in Texas between Christmas and New Year’s. I haven’t been able to time my days off with the good weather. I have, however, been able to sneak out for a couple morning and afternoon trips to my neighborhood lake to try a few new flies that I’ve tied. The bream have been cooperating. In fact, I kept a couple that were over 8.5 inches this afternoon to put in a frying skillet. These guys were caught on a fluff butt on my 3 wt. Lots of fun! I actually caught 2 dozen or more in an hour and a half. IMG_0588.jpg

I also managed to land two chunky bass too. IMG_0587.JPG

The water has been warm and these guys fought hard.

I have plans to put some fly tying tutorials on my blog in 2017, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I haven’t decided if I’m going to try to do my species challenge this year or just keep up with my numbers of bass, speckled trout, and redfish caught liked I’ve done for the past two years. Let me know in the comments below what you think. Here are some of what I’ve been tying the past few months.crease flies.JPGThese crease flies (poppers) were killer on the bass last year. I probably caught around 100 on these alone. IMG_3200.JPGThe next deadly fly for bass was my frog popper. I also tried one of those double barrel flies.IMG_0589.JPG
Here, I’ve tied a couple versions of the now infamous mop flies.IMG_0592.JPGIMG_0594.JPG

And a few round dinnys. IMG_3060.jpg

I’ve also been playing around with a few of these: (Looper Spineless Minnow) and I’m trying my hand at deer-hair poppers. I’ll post a few pictures of those when I finally get something that looks presentable 🙂

 

Fishing with Glen, the Gobbule Getter :)

Each year, I try to make a trip to the frigid north (that’s anywhere north of Alexandria, LA for those of you not from Louisiana) and fish with a good friend and fly fishing buddy of mine, Glen Cormier. Most people just know him as “Catch Cormier.”  I may have posted this on an earlier post but it’s worth mentioning again that Catch first got me into the sport of kayak fishing.  I taught his daughter for four years at St. Michael High School and he would sometimes pick her up from after school band practice with one or two kayaks strapped to the top of his car. I was a bay boat fisherman at the time and I asked him what were the kayaks for. He told me that he fished out of them and I asked him where? He promptly replied, “just about anywhere I can.” After pestering Glen for some time about what kind of kayak to buy, he helped me pull the trigger on my first kayak, my Wilderness Tarpon. I used to call it Doc’s Yellow Submarine. It’s a great kayak that paddles very fast and tracks well.

Anyway, I kept trying to set up a trip to fish with Glen so I could pick his brain (he is a walking encyclopedia about fishing and you’ve probably seen me reference some of Cormier’s Laws about Fishing on this blog) but we couldn’t agree to a date until I decided to jump in and purchase a fly rod. I think it’s no coincidence that Glen finally made his calendar clear when I offered to fish with him and leave the “Commie” tackle back home. By the way, Commie tackle refers to anything NOT related to the fly rod. 🙂 Well, we’ve been fishing buddies since then.

As long as I’m explaining a few terms here, the word gobbule, as defined by Catch himself, means: Any sunfish.  The term sunfish is too passive for this hard-fighting members of the Centrachid family.

Last week, I ventured to Glen’s home in Boyce to fish the Kisatche lakes (Valentine, Cotille, and Kincaid). Since I was getting there the last week of June, our expectations weren’t very high for bass, but we hoped to get on some of the great bream or gobbule fishing those lakes have to offer. It took us a while to find them but when we did, we were rewarded with a bunch of these hard fighters
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Many of these fish would have been “frying pan” worthy, but we were just releasing them this week and thanking them for the fight. Speaking of fight, there were several bream that made Catch’s 6 wt. double over. You can only imagine how much fun it was to catch these “bream with an attitude” on a 3 wt!

Another thing that makes fishing with Glen is the scenery. Glen and his wife are now retired and they have some of the most picturesque waters and woods in their back yard.

Even in the extreme heat, I was able to land one nice bass on a crease fly popper. It’s the largest bass that I’ve caught in PUBLIC waters this year, which means that it is…well would have been eligible for the Massey’s CPR Tournament. Sad to say, that after I took this picture, it flopped back into the water.

 

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Nice bass on the crease fly

Here are a couple pictures from the rest of the trip
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Chinquapin!
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Glen used his son’s Jackson. It looks like we’re on Pro Staff for Team Jackson! 🙂

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Following Doctor’s Orders

So I went in for my follow up check up with my hand surgeon and when I asked him about physical therapy he said,”anything you want to do.” “Go fishing, play your horn…go fishing.” Well I did just that. I had a couple of hours to spare before getting supper ready and going to our dress rehearsal with the incomparable, Rene` Fleming so I went fishing in the neighborhood lake. I took only my 3 wt, and another 5 wt rigged with bream flies. I must have landed about 2 dozen small bream but nothing to really brag about.

The afternoon did get interesting when I made a good cast by some cypress knees and immediately got a small 7-inch bass to eat. No sooner had I hooked the juvenile bass than a larger behemoth bass inhaled my fish. It took off and made a pass under my kayak. I let him run for a while but it decided to spit the baby bass back out. I landed it. It had a few scales knocked off but I think it will make it. I revived it and sent it off on its way. I continued to make a couple more casts in the same area and hooked another small bass and a couple of bream when my phone rang. It was my wife, so I figured I had better take the call. She was wondering where I was and what was for dinner. You know. The usual 5 PM phone conversation. After a couple minutes on the phone, I picked up my 3 wt. and went to make a cast when I realized that something had eaten my #10 frog popper. When I got the slack out, I realized is was big. I made sure to strip set the hook but the dog gone thing rose to the top and spit my popper back at me. It must have been over 20 inches! Oh well, I know where I’m going to start fishing the next time I hit that lake 🙂

On the way back in, I ran into a guy who was bank fishing and he pointed out that there were monster red-ear bream on beds. Sure enough, I saw some nice big bream on beds. Try as I might though, I couldn’t get them to eat anything. They were definitely set on guarding the beds and were not in an eating mood. I’ll be back for them too. I just have to catch them before they head out of the area completely after the spawn.

Sorry no pictures this trip. I’ll try to get back on the water somewhere this weekend.

Fishing before “Stormageddon”

I actually didn’t know what to title this post. Fun in the neighborhood lake? Making lemonade out of lemons? Fun on my 3 wt. Anyway, we got the day off of school today because of the forecast violent, stormy weather. As I type this, I’m listening to the TV weatherman report sightings of tornados, funnel clouds, and water spouts. A tornado did actually touch down about ten miles as the crow flies from my house. How was the weather here? Well, I got out on the lake with little or no wind early this morning before the rain started.

I fished the upper lake in my neighborhood and landed 7 bass and five chinquapin that will hit some hot grease this Friday 🙂 All my fish were caught on a fluff butt under a VOSI on my 3 wt.!!  I tried to target bass but couldn’t get a hit on normal bass flies. When I changed to the fluff butt (to target chinquapin) that’s when I began getting big bass bites.

Since it was my first trip in our neighborhood lake, I took the opportunity to “reel in” some of the trash I found. What a mess! I noticed that most of it was light plastic that simply blew off decks and backyard patios. IMG_3472

I did reel in some of these:IMG_3473

and 7 of these:

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The largest was 16.5!IMG_3471
I had 2 big ones break me off on some structure too. I’ve got to get on my vice and replenish my fluff butt inventory.
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Dam it! Bass!

Well, I’ve given the neighborhood fish a bit of a break but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to fish the bottom dam again this morning after the torrential rains we had yesterday. It didn’t take long for me to be hooked up on a big bass…and it didn’t take long for me to try to overpower the fish and have the fish break my line. 😦 I never saw this one but he had to be 2 and a half to three pounds. A few minutes later, I had another one smash my fly but miss the hook. I started thinking that this would be another one of those mornings when the fish would beat me. I foul-hooked a shad and curiosity got the best of me. I cast the now wounded shad out where all the action was and let it sit for a spell. Seconds later, I hooked a small bass. It made one jump and threw my bait back at me.

Well, I remained patient and kept reminding myself, “strip set.” “Don’t try to overpower the fish.”  Minutes later, I was hooked up again. I kept my mantra going. “Take your time.” “Don’t try to overpower the fish.” I landed my personal best on my fly rod at 20 inches. I didn’t have my scale with me 😦 but it had to go over 3 pounds. It was early and overcast so my picture came out disappointingly blurry.

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I caught a second bass by the dam before the feeding frenzy stopped. It was 6:15 so I decided to put my kayak in and test the bream. I wasn’t disappointed as I caught a half dozen over 8 inches. The two biggest went over 10 inches.

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I noticed last week I had a few fish that tried to inhale my VOSI. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased (on sale) a fluorescent green which was nearly identical to the color of the VOSI. For some time now, I’ve been thinking about tying an Accardo Round Dinny so I put together a couple of those and fished one this morning. I caught about a dozen feisty bluegill on it and a couple of spunky bass too. Looks like I’ll be tying a few more of those soon!

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Cute little bug, isn’t it!

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The Research is In!

The data does not lie. Or does it?

I hit the same spot this morning with the fly rod determined to see which fly would reign supreme. Would it be the hare’s ear nymph, dyed brown or would it be a black and chartreuse fluff butt? Yesterday I began my morning fishing with the nymph and caught four red-eared sunfish (chinquapin) over 9 inches long before I switched to a fluff butt. I caught 3 over nine inches on the fluff butt.

This morning I began fishing with the fluff butt and it did not disappoint! Right away I started catching these big guys.

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I had four on the stringer in a half hour.

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I threw back three that were over 8 inches but under my self-imposed nine-inch or better limit.

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I got my fly caught in a tangled mess at around 8 am and decided to switch to the nymph. I didn’t get a hit for about 15 minutes so I changed back to the fluff butt. I proceeded to catch another under-sized chinquapin and another keeper in the next five minutes.

One of the added features of fishing with the fluff butt is you will occasionally catch one of these.

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I caught my personal best too. A bream over 11 inches long on the fly rod.

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Overall a great way to spend an early summer morning. Just two days before my birthday. 🙂

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